Mohamed Hamidi, the director of La Vache and Born somewhere, signs the remake of an Argentine success, Honorary Citizen, with Kad Merad, Fatsah Bouyamed and Oulaya Amamra. A touching comedy on the theme of going back to basics, in Algeria.
What is it about ?
Samir Amin is a fulfilled writer, Nobel Prize for Literature, who lives in Paris, far from his native country, Algeria. He systematically refuses all the invitations made to him. Until the day he decides to accept being made “Honorary Citizen” of Sidi Mimoun, the small town where he was born. But is it really a good idea to see the inhabitants of this city again, who have become, year after year, the characters of his various novels?
A comeback comedy
After The cow, born somewhere or A Great Team, mohamed hamidi unveils his new comedy: honorary citizen. A film that he presents to us in one minute:
Met as part of the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival, where the film was presented in preview, Mohamed Hamidi confided in his desire with this film, which is a continuation of his previous comedies, with depth and values, beyond simple entertaining comedy:
“It’s my 5th movie. It is often said that films resemble their directors. What I want to tell are deep things, emotion, feeling. It’s also a social life, but I want to do it like in life, sometimes energetic, sometimes funny.”
I like to talk about serious and deep subjects, but not necessarily in a serious way
“I like to talk about serious and deep subjects, but not necessarily in a serious way“, he continues. “Comedy allows me to defuse a number of things. It’s a form of modesty not to be frontal, on hard subjects. Here, I approach the return to the sources, the identity, the authoritarianism of the government, the censorship… But I approach it in a little funny way, which allows to be a little more free, and perhaps a bit more mainstream. Because I make films so that people can see them and I find that conveying messages through comedy allows you to be a bit broader, to reach a bit more people. I’m a former teacher, it’s the educational side!”
Honorary citizen has for main role, an astonishing, fair and touching Kad Merad. He plays a Nobel Prize! “Kad Merad, we believe in it as president in Baron Noir… that’s great actors!“
We find the family of actors of Mohamed Hamidi. Kad Merad had already played in A beautiful team. As for Fatsah Bouyahmed, this is already his third collaboration with the director, after Born somewhere and The Cow. The two met at Marrakech du rire and the Jamel Comédie Club.
Jamel Debbouze appears precisely the time of a small role in the film. “We were in full lockdown. He asked me if he could read the script, “Is there anything for me?” And there was this role that he did wonderfully well, it’s a little gift he gave me“, says Mohamed Hamidi.
Finally, it should be noted that Honorary Citizen has the particularity of being a remake of an Argentinian film, which had a certain success there (El ciudadano ilustre ([Citoyen d’honneur] by Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat, 2016). “Until now, I had always done original scripts“, Mohamed Hamidi tells us. “This is a remake that was offered to me. It was the producers of Axel Film who proposed this idea to me. I really adored the original film, but afterward you inevitably say to yourself: what can I bring that is different?’ If it’s to do the same thing in another language, it’s useless… I wanted to add other things to it, on Algerian society, there is perhaps also a little more humor with the character of Fatsah, who does not exist in the Argentinian film. I tried to redo the same film but differently“.
honorary citizenwith Kad MeradFatsah Bouyahmed, Oulaya Amamra, will be released at the cinema this Wednesday.